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Posts Tagged ‘temper tantrums’

Women are no strangers to the hormonal changes: we go through them monthly, when we’re pregnant, even through menopause. Lately it’s been a roller coaster around here; I’ve ditched the birth control in hopes of having another baby (eek!), and thus turned into an estrogen monster.

My body doesn’t do well with medication. Rather, just as little goes a long way and I tend to react pretty strongly when I stop taking said meds. Same goes for birth control … it’s like my body has saved up all of the vicious PMS symptoms that the pill tends to ease and the moment my ovaries get the all clear, its hormone’s-a-ragin’.

Mix that up with a toddler and … yeah, I’m saying it: here comes t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

Case in point: I take Max to storytime at the library nearly every week. Twice now we’ve had to either leave early, or not go in at all due to his determination (re: tantrums). This past Monday, we get in the room fine and he is content to play with the lock and the handle of the door to the children’s room. Until we shut it. The entire class is treated to a cacophony of his cries for a few moments until I pick him up and distract him with the window blinds.

We then try to sit down and sing a rousing rendition of “Open Shut Them,” but to no avail. Max is on his back in the middle of the room, still crying. The librarian says, “Oh Maxwell, what is wrong now?” And I reply, “He’s still mad about the door.”

I do get him up and not crying. Go me, I am Supermom.

And then he sees the fire extinguisher.

Photo courtesy of Kenn W. Kiser.

Here’s the thing that drives me crazy about every children’s library: When they offer classes for babies, toddlers and the like, why on earth are the rooms in which the classes meet not baby proofed? There always are open closets, cabinets without latches, outlets without covers and darn it, fire alarms and extinguishers a mere three feet from the floor. I mean, duh.

So there’s my Max, going after the hose of the fire extinguisher, and every time I grab him, he lets out a protest yell. I finally stand in front of the object of his affection to stop him, and he yells, grabs my leg, and tries to bite me through my jeans.

Now I’m sure the other moms and kids have had enough of his antics, but I am beyond pissed. I give him the futile, “Don’t bite mommy!” grab him, the diaper bag and make our exit. He of course, is protesting leaving now, and I’m angrily whispering, “I can’t take you anywhere!” I’m fairly certain the librarians overheard me.

The thing that kills me more than the embarrassment of Max’s behavior is the embarrassment of my behavior. I’m the adult. I should know better. And it’s the failure that whatever I did—reprimand, soothe, deny—went completely ignored by my son. Why is it when our children misbehave does it seem that everyone else’s children listen and respond to their parents?

I don’t know if there is an answer to this, since my mom polling indicates that all moms have been there. In the meantime, I wonder how long we’ll stay away from the library this time ….

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Oh yeah, the temper tantrums are here. And here to stay I think. Here’s the thing that amazes me about this: Google the phrase “terrible twos” and see what pops up. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now, google the phrase “terrible 16-month-olds” and see what pops up. Again, waiting ….

 

Aha, you got it right? Right? It’s like the same damn results list, isn’t it? Why didn’t anyone tell us about this!? I already know the answer to that: In order to save the human race, moms-to-be are lead to believe that the years prior to that second birthday are blissfully tantrum-free. Saves the risk of people dropping out of this whole parenting gig.

The tantrums started earlier this month, while we were in Ohio visiting Nana and the rest of the fam. The first in a series left me totally bewildered, and with a trio of fresh bite marks on my arm. (Oh yeah, the biting blog is coming up!) It’s amazing isn’t it, that transition to a demon-child that not only bites, but kicks and screams and is completely inconsolable.

The kicker this week was our hunger tantrum that imploded in the service area waiting room of our local Kia dealership. How embarrassing is it to catch the look of alarm on an also-waiting-grandma’s face, when the cute kid she was just playing peek-a-boo with is now on the floor, kicking and screaming away, while his mother is inspecting her arm for the latest teeth marks?

What to do? My method that works 50 percent of the time is to remove Max from the situation, and sit him down with a glass of water. He’s been after drinking from a cup pretty much since we started the sippy, so it will usually focus him away from his hysterics. (The other half, the backfire half, is when he wants to take said cup ‘o water and run with it, which just gives us new tantrum fuel.)

This little article Stop Temper Tantrums in Their Tracks was cute, and I may try a few of these soon.

In the end, my inquiring parenting mind wants to know WHY? Here are a few answers:

  • Failure to communicate. Kiddos like mine that are still sans words will kick, bite and scream their way to get what they want, or say what they have to say.
  • Attention, attention, attention. Tantrums certainly can achieve the attention they seek. I think this is when the walk-away- and-let-them-scream-it-out method works best.
  • They (gulp) like the excitement of aggression. Or alternatively, your child is not evil, he or she just thinks that biting or kicking is “playing.”
  • Sleep deprivation. Since toddlers don’t have a set schedule (mine does not) this can be hard to spot. They need roughly 12 to 14 hours of sleep per 24-hour period, so in some cases, adding an extra nap or earlier bed time can help reduce tantrums.
  • Separation anxiety. Although Max and I are rarely apart, I know many of my mommy readers are dealing with this issue.
  • Cavemen/cavewomen. Yep, a few docs out there say our little ones are just too right-brained, acting with just the impulsive, emotional side of their little noggins.
  • Frustration. In our house, these are mini-tantrums, whining or crying when he drops a toy, or can’t get something open.
  • Independence. Ned and I saddled Max with this one, big time. Toddlers want to start doing it themselves, feeding, reaching an object, you name it, they want to control. When they don’t get it … watch out!

Phew. Maybe I’m not a bad parent after all. I feel better. Now where is that kid? I think we need a second little nap …!

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